Dissertation Abstracts

Immigration, Crimmigration and Violent: The Convicted Inmates and the Representations on Immigration and Crime

Author: Maria João Guia, maria.joao.guia@ij.uc.pt
Department: Faculty of Economics (Sociology of Law)
University: University of Coimbra, Portugal
Supervisor: João Pedroso
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: Immigration , Violent Crime , Crimmigration , Convicted Inmates
Areas of Research: Migration , Law , Human Rights and Global Justice


Migrations, being a movement of people in a certain period of time, looking for new destinations, involve social, cultural and behavioral changes and involve the transposition of the historical and cultural heritage of migrants to the host societies. In Portugal, immigration has become more visible since the beginning of the century, with the regularization programs for foreigners. In countries with a mostly migratory background where studies on immigration and crime revealed new and conflicting views on a possible correlation between the two variables, policies were implemented to restrict access of migrants to citizenship rights. The most typical example is the USA, where public policies were implemented through 'Crimmigration': which merges the application of criminal law and immigration law and results in excluding immigrants, either by segregation, by convictions and imprisonments, or by the removal of the individuals from that country. In this investigation I sought to verify the existence of crimmigratory policies and practices in Portugal and found, however, that Portugal stands out as one of the countries with better immigrant integration measures. The findings indicate careful and selective policing and judicial practices of an increased application of preventive detention and sentencing to imprisonment, upon non-nationals which contributes to their over-representation in the justice statistics. In this context, an analysis was conducted on Violent Crime in Portugal, with the crimes of murder, robbery, bodily harm and rape as the research objects. The study examined the variables of inmates convicted in Portugal, between 2002 and 2011, looking for data on four classes of non-nationals: immigrants, third countries circulating individuals, euromigrantes and visitors from EU countries. The analysis did not reveal any significant relationship between immigration and violent crime, with the exception of robbery, where there is a growing overrepresentation of non-nationals. The investigation concludes with an analysis of the speeches of institutional actors, NGO activists, and the internal security reports, in order to assess whether there have been increasing incidences of rhetoric that wrongfully associates immigrants and violent crimes.

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